Lest you consider January a time for reflection and planning for the months ahead, we are here to sound the alarm that folks are still actively spending money in a wide range of categories, some even more than actively than they were in Q4! From the obvious fitness and self-care categories to non-profits and travel companies benefitting from the good intentions of people who have decided 2024 would be “their year,” now is not the time to take your foot off the gas.
It is, however, time to switch gears as January shoppers have a dramatically different outlook. Shoppers are looking for inspiration, challenge, and novelty above all else, as they work to form new habits. Where a December shopper will typically seek out familiar brands they trust to deliver on time, impress potential gift recipients, and perform reliably, a Q1 shopper is willing - more than ever - to try something new.
A recent Criteo survey found that a whopping 47% of surveyed shoppers were willing to switch brands and/or buy products in unfamiliar categories if they believe those brands/products could help them reach their new year goals.
Let’s take a look at the categories that most benefit from new year behavior shifts.
Congratulations health and wellness marketers, your moment is here. Everyone and their mother wants to optimize/strengthen/tone/better themselves into a whole new them this time of year. While workout and meditation gear is definitely flying off the shelves this month, it’s important to remember what else might qualify as a wellness or self-care item. There’s of course bedding - and the infamous January White Sale - that helps you have better sleep/sex/meditation, but there’s also gardening, cooking, bird-watching, and anything promoting time spent enjoying one’s surroundings.
This glut of opportunity, however, that the wellness product category will be extremely crowded. Marketers need to make sure they highlight the novelty and special features of their offerings to stand out. Make sure to select campaign formats like video, that can maximize product demonstration, especially on channels like CTV that offer a premium viewing experience next to high quality content, with the flexibility of a digital channel.
January weather is the pits in most countries, so it makes sense that travel bookings in the Northern Hemisphere surge by 60% by mid-January. Again, make sure to select a campaign format that will help customers instantly engage with the features you choose to promote this season, with an emphasis on unexpected, customizable, and “authentic” experiences. Interest and household income targeting can be especially impactful in this product category.
Marketers who want to capitalize on this busy travel month should think about mobile, too, as apps play an increasingly central role in securing trips and encouraging brand loyalty.
While the end of the year is great to promote tax incentives, corporate giving, and donation matching, January is the time to re-focus on making your mission come alive and feel fresh in order to court new donors who have added charitable giving to their list of resolutions for the year.
It can be especially interesting to comb through the donor data your nonprofit organization has probably amassed over the last few months of intensive giving from the previous year and use fresh insights to develop your Q1 campaign - but act fast! The glow of New Year resolutions typically only lasts about a month, after which donors tend to be less open to change and fall back into older patterns.
There’s nothing quite like a January decluttering to encourage … more home decor and organizational purchases! Buying patterns take a sharp turn in January, from gifting to personal purchases, and that’s an especially exciting change for home goods brands that do pretty well pushing products for tablescapes and entertaining in December, but less so on big ticket items like furniture. Well now is the time to push. Hard. Large purchases can be especially daunting for consumers so focus on brand-safe environments for your ads and capitalize on campaign channels that can showcase your products in a context that shoppers can project themselves in.
There is no denying 2024 is set to be an economically challenging year, but with a historically low unemployment rate and annual January job application bump, shoppers will be looking for professional apparel and cosmetics early in the year. Again, marketers should keep in mind the mindset shift here, as consumers continue to shop but with very different intentions: buying items for themselves instead of others… and leaving holiday sequins at the door.
January tends to be a busy month for real estate, too, with a 56% increase in conversions on real estate websites as people submit inquiries for home rentals and sales, according to Criteo. While most people may not think about the real estate market until sometime in the Spring, January is known by experts to be the best month to buy a house. Prices are lower, bidding wars are fewer, and, overall, it’s more of a buyer’s market. Now is the time to differentiate yourself by pushing out a strong campaign ahead of your competition with hyper-local targeting and customized creative.
Remember, January shoppers are looking for inspiration, novelty, and above all, results. They are willing to try any product that will help them reach their goals, and are more open than ever to change. Here are the top reasons shoppers reevaluate brand loyalty, according to a recent Sampler.io survey.
With that in mind, savvy marketers will develop performance campaigns with crystal clear Calls to Action (CTAs) and creative focused on product quality and value such as promo codes, generous return policies, a QR code linking to in-depth product demos, regionally-specific targeted campaigns, etc.
CTV advertising can be a January marketer’s best friend as it can support campaigns with: